Yvonne Lorkin wine column for week beginning Jan 13 2018

Last week I received an email from a reader that had interesting points. It also had lots of exclamation marks and angry capital letters.

Subject: Jules Taylor Sav Just read your review of this wine having tried it last night. I really enjoyed it and was seriously impressed by it. I thought it was fresh, vibrant and had heaps to recommend it which, as a massive Palliser fan, is saying something! Imagine my surprise to find it reviewed in my local paper! Admittedly the review was in the Wanganui Chronicle but I suspect it was syndicated. I’m afraid that reviewers like you put normal people off wine with your preposterous descriptions! Lime curd? Lemon curd, sure, most people have tasted that but lime curd? Blackcurrant LEAF? Really? When was the last time ANYONE ate or smelled a blackcurrant LEAF? And don’t get me started on “peapod notes” in this day and age! Seriously, I think you need to connect with some real people to describe what you’re drinking if you think that description helps ANYONE other than Auckland w@*$€rs to select and enjoy wine. Sorry. Don’t usually rise to foodie/winey pretentiousness but you won! Well done you! Regards M.C Wine lover.

Here’s my [abridged] reply…

Good morning M. Thank you for taking the time to write to me. Now I’m a bit worried about what foodstuffs are available in Whanganui. I live in Hastings. Similar town, similar size, similar provinciality. But I can, and do, buy lime curd all the time at my supermarket. If someone hasn’t tried it, it’s really easy to imagine and to make. It’s just like lemon curd. But. With. Limes. Every supermarket here in Hastings stocks pea pods and shock horror – people are buying them! So they must be eating them and know what they are. Also cafes and restaurants over here serve them on and in salads and as garnishes and all sorts “in this day and age” (clearly they are nuts) I have a blackcurrant plant in my backyard. I sniffed the leaves one day. That Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc had an aroma exactly like it so I wrote it down. Sorry if that offended. My skill is being able to pick out characters in wine that might help a person decide “hey, that sounds interesting to me, maybe I’ll buy it and try it”. Isn’t it wonderful to try something you’d normally never buy and for it to bring you joy? To break free from your same-old-same-olds? That’s what I love about my job. Reviewers like me put “normal” people off enjoying wine? Wow. Clearly when sales rocket after a good review from me is published, it must be all the weirdos out there buying. Well done them! To be honest I don’t give two hoots who’s buying the wine, as long as it’s being bought. Because if I can encourage people to taste something new and yummy from an interesting producer then that’s my job done. Wine is the sensory product of art and science colliding. I look at wine the same way I do food, films, books, music, art and architecture etc.. I want to be charmed and engaged by it. Imagine if you wanted to buy a new book. Something to get your wheels spinning. You’d look up reviews on all the new books wouldn’t you? How depressing would it be if those reviewers simply said “This book was about the war. It was good. It had happy bits and sad bits and it was $30”. If you felt like seeing a
film that appealed to your sense of humour or tugged at your heartstrings, yet the reviews only said “This film was good. It was worth the money. It was 3 hours long. There were happy bits and sad bits and there were some famous people in it”. You want to decide on which really good restaurant to go to, however all the restaurant reviewers said “the food here was alright. Some was good, some was yuck, it was expensive though”. Doesn’t give you much to go on does it. So while I am sorry that you find some of my descriptive language insufferable, something in that review has since spurred a bunch of people to buy that Jules Taylor Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc – and that makes me a happy wine weirdo indeed.

Have a safe and tasty 2018 Yvonne

[addendum – we have since chuckled over our keyboards and made up] …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Paritua Hawke’s Bay Chardonnay 2014 $42 (5 stars)
Winemaker Jason Stent 2014 vintage of this Bridge Pa-grown beauty is elegant, creamy, peach-andmacadamia-crumble of a wine. Chock full of classic stonefruit and pineapple notes on the nose and palate, it’s refreshing, soulful and seriously satisfying, I absolutely love it.

Waimea Nelson Gewurztraminer 2016 $23 (4 stars)
Winemaker Hamish Kempthorne has crammed a cruise-ship sized chunk of creamy florals, luscious lychee, peach and ginger-dusted, musky notes into this bottle. Waimea produce crisp, satisfying, richly flavoured aromatic whites that, if I had my way, would be less of a secret and more of a ‘mustsip’. Try this with your next Thai green chicken curry and all your wildest dreams will come true.


Three sensational sips to kick off your New Year in style..

Black Estate Home Chardonnay 2016 $45 (4 stars)
The Home Vineyard sits 6 kilometres north east of the Waipara Junction, in the Omihi sub-district of North Canterbury’s Waipara Valley. The un-grafted, Mendoza-clone chardonnay vines this wine was made from were planted in 1994 and since 2010 have been grown using organic and biodynamic practices, resulting in a wine oozing grilled citrus, layers of caramelised, spicy oak, creamy complexity and has a long, elegant, restrained finish. A good one for the cellar.

Coopers Creek Select Vineyards Guido In Velvet Pants Huapai Montepulciano 2014 $26.60 (4.5 stars)
Dubbed ‘Guido’ after winemaker Simon Nunn’s work mate and super-cute Italian greyhound, whereas the ‘velvet pants’ bit has something to do with Carmelite nuns likening this smooth, ‘westie’ version of the famous Italian variety to a slippery son of God if you believe the rumours. With its intense berries, spice, liquorice layers and fuzzy, warming, grippy textural finish – it’s a gorgeous red that’ll win friends and influence people.

Pukeora Estate Ruahine Range Pinot Gris 2015/2016 $21 (4 stars)
It’s a rare thing to see these days, blending two vintages of a still wine together (multi-vintage blending is common in sparklings), yet winemaker Max Annabell has made this work. A tiny pinot gris harvest in 2015 meant the wine was kept aside and when an equally tiny (but delicious) vintage followed in 2016, he decided to throw convention aside and combine them. Buckets of pear, ginger,
fresh apple and quince flavours are the result of fruit grown on steep, north-facing, limestone slopes of Central Hawke’s Bay, fermented long and slow in old French barrels. Rich, textural and off-dry.

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